That time Dave Mustaine called out trendy jackasses while Megadeth toured behind Cyptic Writings

By Steve Newton When it comes to the so-called “Big Four” of American heavy-metal acts–Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax–I tend to pick Metallica as my fave. But I do like a few Megadeth tunes as well, “Symphony of Destruction” being particularly hard to beat. I’ve interviewed band leader Dave Mustaine three times, the first being … Continue reading That time Dave Mustaine called out trendy jackasses while Megadeth toured behind Cyptic Writings

That time Alice Cooper told me that he would blow “clone bands” like Ratt and Mötley Crüe off the stage

me ‘n the coop. @shotbykevin By Steve Newton When I was a teenager in the early ’70s, Alice Cooper was god. I couldn’t get enough of his nasty image and the killer guitar-rock on albums Love It to Death, Killer, School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies, and Muscle of Love. I lost interest somewhat after he … Continue reading That time Alice Cooper told me that he would blow “clone bands” like Ratt and Mötley Crüe off the stage

That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich four times because, hey, I like Metallica. This is the first time, way the funk back in March of 1985, when the band was still touring behind its second album, Ride the Lightning. Lars called me up from L.A. and filled me in on how the … Continue reading That time 21-year-old Lars Ulrich woke up early to call and tell me how Metallica’s new Ride the Lightning album was doin’

That time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success gave him hope

  mudcrutch photo by red slater By Steve Newton When I interviewed Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell back in the summer of 1999 we got to talking about his early days playing with Petty in the Gainesville, Florida band Mudcrutch. At one point Campbell told me about how that band would sometimes … Continue reading That time Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell told me that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success gave him hope

That time John Doe from X couldn’t believe that I’d seen the Viggo Mortensen horror flick Prison

  By Steve Newton Just heard recently that L.A. punk-rockers X were back together, so to celebrate I figured I’d digitize my old interview with X vocalist-bassist John Doe from 1990. At the time Doe had just released his debut solo album, the alt-country/roots offering Meet John Doe. At one point in the conversation, for … Continue reading That time John Doe from X couldn’t believe that I’d seen the Viggo Mortensen horror flick Prison

That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

By Steve Newton I only got to interview Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon once before his tragic drug-overdose death at the age of 28. It was December of 1992, and earlier in the year Hoon’s band had been part of the MTV 120 Minutes Tour, opening for Public Image Ltd., Big Audio Dynamite II, and … Continue reading That time Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon told me about his love/hate relationship with John Lydon

Vancouver guitar ace Scott Smith sends out a Lifeboat for pedal-steel fans in these trying times

By Steve Newton I first became aware of the six-string talents of Vancouver’s Scott Smith when he sent me a copy of his blues-rock trio Terminal Station’s Rolling All Night album back in 2009. I also knew of his fine work with Bottleneck, the country-roots quartet he fronted with Robyn Carrigan, and his guest appearances … Continue reading Vancouver guitar ace Scott Smith sends out a Lifeboat for pedal-steel fans in these trying times

That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

By Steve Newton The 2001 David Spade white-trash comedy Joe Dirt isn’t the best movie ever made, but it sure featured a rockin’ soundtrack. Some of my all-time fave bands are on there, including Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Foghat, BTO, the James Gang, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Canada’s own April Wine also shows … Continue reading That time Myles Goodwyn told me how April Wine’s “Roller” got on the Joe Dirt soundtrack

John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

Mellencamp middle, Aronoff far right By Steve Newton For many years the resounding thwump of Kenny Aronoff’s drumwork could be heard worldwide on the heartland-rock hits of John Mellencamp. People first came to notice Aronoff’s skin-bashing abilities big time on the massive 1982 blockbuster “Hurts So Good”, but his percussive powers would continue to meld perfectly … Continue reading John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed John Mellencamp was way the funk back in the spring of 1983, after he’d released his multiplatinum breakthrough album American Fool (the one with “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane” on it) and before he’d released his multiplatinum followup Uh-Huh (the one with “Pink Houses” and “Authority … Continue reading That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

That time Carlos Santana told me that he was open to anything and everything

By Steve Newton Carlos Santana has been known as a brilliant guitarist since the 1960s, but he didn’t hit his commercial peak until the release of the Supernatural album in 1999. That disc featured collaborations with artists such as Eric Clapton, Rob Thomas, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Lauryn Hill, and Dave Matthews, and sold a staggering 30-million copies worldwide. … Continue reading That time Carlos Santana told me that he was open to anything and everything

That time Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told me how he got into Tom Petty’s band

By Steve Newton Tom Petty is one of my favourite rockers, and I’m really bummed that I never got to interview him. But I did get to do the next best thing, which was chat with his forever guitarist, Mike Campbell. I interviewed Campbell in August of 1999, before Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played … Continue reading That time Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell told me how he got into Tom Petty’s band

That time Steve Vai told me what was so great about Ibanez guitars

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed Steve Vai, back in May of 1990, he had just released his Passion and Warfare album and was on the covers of all the top guitar mags clutching an Ibanez guitar. So at one point in the conversation I asked him about the Ibanez seven-string and what made … Continue reading That time Steve Vai told me what was so great about Ibanez guitars

That time Ace Frehley told me that deep down inside Gene Simmons was a teddy bear

By Steve Newton When it comes to legendary rocker Gene Simmons, you either love him or hate him. Some say he’s an arrogant, money-hungry, womanizing prick; others say that he’s a legendary rocker, so who cares. When I got the opportunity to interview Simmons’ former Kiss bandmate Ace Frehley back in 2008 I asked him … Continue reading That time Ace Frehley told me that deep down inside Gene Simmons was a teddy bear

That time I asked Kenny Aronoff who his favourite drummer was and who he’d most like to drum with

By Steve Newton On this day in 1986 I saw John Mellencamp, when he was still part Cougar, in concert on the Scarecrow tour. Kenny Aronoff was kicking ass on drums, so that made me think about digitizing that interview I did with the American drum great back in 1999 and posting it on my … Continue reading That time I asked Kenny Aronoff who his favourite drummer was and who he’d most like to drum with

That time I asked Alex Van Halen which of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth-era albums was his fave

By Steve Newton If you asked me which of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth-era albums was my fave, I’d probably have to say the first one. I mean, that album is pretty freakin’ hard to beat. I liked Van Halen II a lot as well, but there was nothing like hearing Eddie for the first … Continue reading That time I asked Alex Van Halen which of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth-era albums was his fave

That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how incredibly awesome John Hammond was

By Steve Newton When I interviewed Stevie Ray Vaughan for the second and last time, in July of 1990, he was still touring behind his fourth studio album, In Step. At one point in the conversation I mentioned that the album was dedicated to John Hammond–the famed American record producer, civil rights activist, and music … Continue reading That time Stevie Ray Vaughan told me how incredibly awesome John Hammond was

That time Doyle Bramhall II called from Chicago and told me how he came to work with Eric Clapton

todd v. wolfson photo By Steve Newton Unless you’re a hardcore fan of bluesy music or a devoted follower of Eric Clapton you may not recognize the name Doyle Bramhall II, but he’s been one of the most in-demand guitarists in the blues-rock world for many years. I did my first interview with him back … Continue reading That time Doyle Bramhall II called from Chicago and told me how he came to work with Eric Clapton

That time 24-year-old Jon Bon Jovi raved to me about recording in Vancouver just before Slippery When Wet exploded on the charts

By Steve Newton I did my first interview with Jon Bon Jovi in July of 1986, when his band was heading to Vancouver for a date opening for Judas Priest. Little did anybody know that one month later, when Bon Jovi released its made-in-Vancouver album Slippery When Wet, it would rocket to worldwide fame and … Continue reading That time 24-year-old Jon Bon Jovi raved to me about recording in Vancouver just before Slippery When Wet exploded on the charts

That time I asked Ace Frehley if he ever feared an onstage attack like the one that killed Dimebag

By Steve Newton We’ve all seen violence at rock concerts, but usually it only involves some guy in the crowd who’s had too much to drink and decides to give another guy a punch in the head. Rarely does it involve the actual band members on stage, although there are exceptions. Like that time, as … Continue reading That time I asked Ace Frehley if he ever feared an onstage attack like the one that killed Dimebag

That time I told Randy Bachman that my fave Guess Who song was “Undun”

By Steve Newton Everybody has their favourite Guess Who tune, I reckon. Some go for the riff-driven rocker “American Woman”. Others might appreciate the piano-based ballad “These Eyes”. Me, I’m an “Undun” kinda guy. When I interviewed Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman back in 2001 I told him that his jazz-tinged 1969 B-side was tops … Continue reading That time I told Randy Bachman that my fave Guess Who song was “Undun”

That time I said hello to Little Steven from Jon Bon Jovi and then things got political

By Steve Newton June 18, 1987 was kind of an interesting day as far as my endless adventures in rock journalism go. That was the day I interviewed Little Steven–who was promoting his highly political Freedom–No Compromise album–just minutes after interviewing Jon Bon Jovi–who was promoting his highly non-political Slippery When Wet album. They’re both … Continue reading That time I said hello to Little Steven from Jon Bon Jovi and then things got political

That time J.J. Cale told me that, like Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd also helped his bank account

By Steve Newton Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping was released the day after my 17th birthday, so the timing was right for it to become one of the major soundtracks to my rock-loving ’70s existence. I didn’t mind its smash-hit lead-off single, “Sweet Home Alabama”, but I liked its rollicking closing track, “Call Me the Breeze”, … Continue reading That time J.J. Cale told me that, like Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd also helped his bank account

That time I asked Steve Vai how it was different playing with David Coverdale than David Lee Roth

By Steve Newton When I did my first interview with Steve Vai in 1990 he had just released his solo album Passion and Warfare, but at the time was also a member of David Coverdale’s hugely popular Whitesnake. A year earlier Vai had left David Lee Roth’s equally successful band, so when I called him up I … Continue reading That time I asked Steve Vai how it was different playing with David Coverdale than David Lee Roth

That time 26-year-old Stevie Salas told me about opening for Joe Satriani on the Blue Dream tour

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in June of 1990 I interviewed singer-songwriter and kick-ass guitarist Stevie Salas, who at the time was promoting his Stevie Salas Colorcode album, which I liked enough to put on my Top 10 list that year. “Hendrix meets Funkadelic in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ practice space,” was … Continue reading That time 26-year-old Stevie Salas told me about opening for Joe Satriani on the Blue Dream tour

God bless Snowy White’s guitar licks on his live version of Peter Green’s “Slabo Day”

By Steve Newton I first heard Snowy White when he became the coguitarist in one of my favourite all-time bands, Thin Lizzy. He shared the six-string duties with Scott Gorham on the early-’80s albums Chinatown and Renegade, which weren’t my fave Lizzy discs. And I’d actually preferred the guitar-work of previous Lizzy pickers Gary Moore, … Continue reading God bless Snowy White’s guitar licks on his live version of Peter Green’s “Slabo Day”

That time Jake E. Lee of Badlands told me that hearing Van Halen got him back into hard rock

By Steve Newton Millions of rock fans around the world were mesmerized by Van Halen’s sheer rockingness when it blasted onto the music scene in the late seventies. And Jake E. Lee was mightily impressed as well. When I interviewed Lee back in 1992 before a Badlands show in Vancouver we got to talking about … Continue reading That time Jake E. Lee of Badlands told me that hearing Van Halen got him back into hard rock